Friday, March 30, 2007

Two Fundraising Nights

The members of the Friends of the Carol Stream Public Library are pleased to announce that two local restaurants are working with us on April 3 and 10 by hosting fundraising promotions that will benefit our organization. Both the Wendy’s Restaurant and the newly opened Wing Stop Restaurant on Army Trail Road have generously offered to share portions of their receipts on designated evenings with the Friends.

The process is easy since there are no coupons or forms needed for the fundraisers. All you have to do is place your orders during the designated times and make sure that you mention that you are with the Friends of the Carol Stream Public Library. We are grateful that these two friendly neighborhood establishments have agreed to work with us, and we hope that you pass the word along to all of your friends and neighbors. The specific details are below:

Wendy’s Restaurant
1850 Army Trail Road
Tuesday, April 3
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Wing Stop Restaurant
566 W. Army Trail Road
Tuesday, April 10
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

We hope that everyone participates in these two fundraising opportunities because we think it is a win-win situation. Our organization will receive contributions that will help us to carry out our many initiatives while we encourage residents to patronize two local businesses at the same time.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Early Voting: Your Choice-Your Time

Today marks the first date on which registered voters in DuPage County can cast ballots under the provisions of the Early Voting initiative that was launched in August, 2005. The program was designed to accommodate voters who might not be able to vote on the established election day. The Early Election program is called “Your Choice-Your Time” because it allows voters to cast ballots at any of several locations around the county at a time that is convenient for each individual.

This year, the early voting program in DuPage County runs from March 26-April 12, and if you are interested, you can vote at one of 10 different voting centers across the county. Be sure to bring a government issued photo ID card such as a driver’s license when you go to vote. Here are the details for the voting centers located near Carol Stream:

DuPage County Election Commission
421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton
Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon
Sunday: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon

Stratford Square Mall
Lower Level near Carson Pirie Scott
Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Bartlett Community Center
700 S. Bartlett Road
Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Monday & Wednesday: 3:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

For information about the other voting centers or to find additional details about the program, click here to go to the DuPage County Election Commission website.

Late Registration: The traditional deadline for registration for the April 17 election was March 20, but state law provides a “grace period” provision to accommodate individuals who were unable to register on that date or verify a change of address before the deadline. This year, the grace period runs from March 21 through April 3, but it is important to remember that registration during this grace period can only be done at the DuPage Election Commission Office at 421 N. County Farm Road in Wheaton.

Since every vote will be critical in the April 17 referendum, we hope that you will take advantage of the Early Voting program if that option is more convenient for you. Please pass along this information to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to uphold their civic responsibility and vote in this important election.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nothing Left to Cut

We are pleased today to have a guest blogger, Laura Pollastrini, on the CSPL Friends site. As she mentions in her message, Laura brings considerable insight to the library referendum issue as a long time resident of Carol Stream and as a member of the Library Board for several years. We have included an architect’s sketch of the interior of the proposed new library here because open space is one of the key issues that Laura discusses in her message:

“I am a 28 year resident of Carol Stream, growing up in our local public schools. For 7 years I served as a Library Trustee, from 1995 - 2002. Throughout that period, we were forced to continuously chip away at the openness of the library so as to be able to utilize the space for books and materials. If you've been there lately, you know that we're down to a handful of tables for the youth to study on, and the adult tables are down to about 4. No longer is there space for a mother to sit and read with her child, for that space is now needed for shelving. No longer can I go there and curl up on a chair and read a good book, for the stand-alone chairs are also gone, again, because that space was needed for materials. In fact, there is shelving everywhere, periodicals on stands anywhere they'll fit, and computer stations one on top of the other. WHY? Because the residents want computers and more up to date materials, but there's no place to put them. Long gone is the open atmosphere that greeted you when you walked into the building in the 70's and 80's. That's because the library was built when there were about 9,000 residents in Carol Stream, and it was built for a capacity of 120,000 volumes. We now have a population 4 times that (40,000+) and 180,000 volumes. There were no computers back then. NOW, everyone wants the library to provide them for public use, a need that the library is desperately trying to accommodate.

As a result of this desperate need for space to accommodate the changing needs of the community, the most shameful thing that has had to be done is that for the past several (and I stress several) years, the staff has been forced to get rid of materials (books, periodicals, tapes, etc) for each new material purchased. Buy a book, get rid of a book. Buy a tape, get rid of a tape. That has been the only way that the library has been able to continue purchasing up to date materials that residents want -- by getting rid of old ones (and I use the word "old" lightly!), materials which would still be of use had we not had a space problem.

For those who know me well, you know that I am one of the most anti-tax persons in this county. "Make do with what you've got." "Live within your means." "Cut waste instead of raising my taxes." The Carol Stream Library has been doing that for the past decade. If this Referendum doesn't pass, the community room will be gone, and with it, the programs that the library provides. They'll need that room for shelving and materials. That will affect Children, Adults, Seniors, as well as Local Businesses. Gone will be the remainder of study tables. School libraries close when school ends at 2:30 or 3:00. Where will those kids go to study, do research, or do their homework if there are no tables to work at?

YES, I'm anti-tax. But our Library has been run and is run by one of the most frugal-minded groups that I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Trust me -- THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO CUT. This referendum is necessary. I urge your consideration, and request that you pass this along to any Carol Stream residents that you know.”
- Laura Pollastrini

Thanks, Laura. We would love to hear from others as well. Click below to leave a comment on this site or share your opinions about the library referendum by writing a “Letter to the Editor” to any of the local newspapers!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Letters to the Editor

As the April 17 election draws nearer, we have been pleased to see a number of informative letters printed in the local newspapers. The writers have touched on several of the key issues relating to the library referendum and they have expressed their support for the construction of a new library in Carol Stream. We have included excerpts from several of the letters below to illustrate the passion that many residents feel about this important issue:

“It is the goal of the Carol Stream Public Library’s Board of Trustees and staff to fill the information and cultural needs of the community in a friendly and professional manner. Unfortunately we are no longer able to meet that goal due to space limitations. Both our older and younger patrons have found it difficult to reach materials since we have had to start using the uppermost and bottom shelves on our stacks. This is also true for our handicapped patrons as well. Due to space limitations, for every new book that comes into the library’s collection, another book must be removed.”
- Robert E. Douglas
Carol Stream Public Library Board President

“Ten dollars a month to have a Community Library that provides service to those without internet access (there are more than you think), who still have a VCR, whose children need a place to do homework, a resource worthy of the residents of Carol Stream. This community has been my home for 35 years. My children deserved the present facility when it replaced the little house on Blackhawk, and the future children of Carol Stream deserve a Library spacious enough, filled with a collection that will meet their needs, and is easily accessible.”
- Barbara Kohlmetz

“We’re voting ‘YES’ because we want our library to be more than a warehouse. We expect that our community library should be the first place we think of when looking for a comfortable seat to browse some books or a quiet study area with WIFI access, rather than the local coffee shop, restaurant or book store. Our current facility has lost that sense of “place” as it has struggled to provide access to technology and materials.”
- Mary and Tony Clemens

“Shouldn’t we have a library that more than just adequately serves our large population, but also represents our values related to learning, community programs, and fair and equal access to everything from print materials to the Internet for the people who depend on it? Carol Stream residents should vote ‘Yes’ to the proposed referendum in that it is asking for a very minimal contribution for a substantial return and a new much needed library, that will serve as an extremely valuable resource to current and future residents of Carol Stream.”
- Jessica Hubinek

“We are at an important juncture in the history of our village, and we need to act to provide the necessary resources for our families. Communities are largely defined by the quality of their public institutions because schools, parks, and libraries contribute so much to the quality of life in a city or village. In past years, we have made the wise and sensible choices to build new schools as the village has grown because we know it is in the best interests of all if we provide excellent educational opportunities. We have recognized the need for new parks and recreation facilities because we know that they add value to the community and help to make Carol Stream a more pleasant place to live. So it is with a proposal to build a well-equipped modern library that is designed with both the present and future needs of our residents in mind.”
- Richard Marchessault

“I love my Carol Stream Public Library. I love the excitement I feel as I approach the new book section, wondering what awaits me…However, there are also things I DON’T love about the Carol Stream Public Library…There is no "quiet" area for reading. When I need to use a computer, there is often a line…If I do venture into the racks to look at older books, it is literally impossible for two people to walk by each other, the space is so tight. Once I maneuver to where I need to be, the book I’m searching for is not to be found because of the library having to get rid of one book for each new book purchased…For all of the above reasons, I will be voting YES for the Carol Stream Public Library referendum on April 17.”
- Peggy Benzin

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Libraries in a Digital Age

The incredible growth in the number of Internet-based resources in recent years has put a significant base of knowledge at the fingertips of many home computer users, but it has also created some substantial misunderstandings about the availability of knowledge in our digital age. With access to so many web sites, e-mail services, and Usenet discussion newsgroups, some may reason that libraries are less vital than they were a decade ago. In fact, the opposite has proven to be true across the country just as it has in Carol Stream-- circulation statistics are at an all-time high and more people visited the Carol Stream Public Library last year than in any previous year.

More Than the Internet: There are many reasons to explain the continuing importance of public libraries, and much has to do with the changing nature of information retrieval. Internet web sites do offer a wealth of information, but they contain only a portion of the information that the library has amassed in its collection of books, magazines, and audio-visual materials. Further, the library has purchased subscriptions to dozens of services that provide access to specialized collections and databases not otherwise available on the Internet. They have been purchased to serve the needs of the community and often require professional assistance by members of the library staff. Remember also that there are thousands of Carol Stream residents who do not have access to modern computers or high-speed Internet access in their homes, and they rely on the library when they need to do research, complete assignments, download forms, or communicate with others.

The fact is, as libraries evolve to keep up with the many new sources of digital media, the need for more computers and work stations becomes even greater. It is this realization that also brings us to one of the most compelling needs facing the Carol Stream Public Library and a prime justification for the construction of a new building. At present, there are only 7 computers available for public use in the Adult section of the library, and not all of those have Internet access. In the Children’s Department, the limitations are even more pronounced with only two computers with Internet access. There are many classrooms in Carol Stream schools that have more computers for children to use, and those classrooms serve between 20-30 students. The Carol Stream Public Library serves over 40,000 residents.

Very few Internet-based computers are available for adult patrons at the library

The Children's Department has only two Internet workstations for young patrons

The Need is Urgent: The library staff recognizes the urgent need for many more computers, but the current building lacks both the physical space and the necessary infrastructure to install more computer stations. The risk, of course, is that as information technology continues to progress in the years to come, the library in its current configuration will be less and less suited to adequately serve the needs of the community. One of the key components of the proposed new building is the provision for at least three times as many public computers supported by a modern data network. It is also one of the compelling arguments for voting “yes” to approve the library referendum issue in April.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Register to Vote by March 20

The consolidated election on April 17 is on the minds of many people, especially since the important library referendum issue is on the ballot. Keep April 17 in mind, but don’t forget another important date that marks a critical deadline for some village residents—March 20. This is the last date that voters can register if they wish to vote in the April 17 election. You can register to vote at the Village Hall, but you may not be aware of the fact that you can also register at the Carol Stream Public Library.

Even if you are already registered to vote, try to think of neighbors, members of your school parent’s organizations or church congregations, or other friends who may not be registered to vote in this important election. Have any families just moved into your neighborhood in the past several months? Are there some new faces at school or church activities? Will your teenagers be old enough to vote for the first time this April? The deadline for registration is less than two weeks away, so be sure to talk to your friends about the library issue and make sure that they are registered and are planning to vote.

Since the Carol Stream Public Library is one of the registration sites, you could encourage any non-registered voters to visit the library in the next few days so that they can complete the process. If they do visit, encourage them to look around the building and to study all of the information about the proposed new facility that is posted in the lobby. Every vote matters as village residents decide this critical issue that will have a profound and lasting effect on the quality of life in Carol Stream in the years to come.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Imagine the Possibilities

As we get closer to the April 17 referendum vote, many residents of Carol Stream will want to know what a new library will mean to them in terms of added physical space, new resources, and enhanced programs for their families. Contrary to what a few people have written in recent letters to the local newspapers, the vision for the new library extends far beyond a few extra shelves or a few more spaces in the parking lot. This proposal would allow the Library Board of Trustees to oversee the construction of an entirely new facility that would not only provide much needed space for the collections and patrons, but also the means to bring the latest information technologies to library users.

It is not possible here to outline all of the features and resources that are planned for the new library, but we have summarized below some of the most significant improvements that would be a part of the new facility:

Reading and Study Space: Residents who have used the current library for more than a few years have noticed one very disturbing recent trend—large areas in the central portion of the building that were once filled with tables and comfortable chairs for reading have gradually disappeared as more and more shelving has been added in an ongoing attempt to house the growing collections of books and audio-visual materials. The architect’s plans for the new library call for several open and inviting spaces for adults and younger patrons to comfortably read as well as the creation of several quiet study rooms. The library used to feature such study rooms for individuals and small groups to work or collaborate on projects, but they were removed many years ago to make room for needed offices and staff work spaces.

Separate Areas for Adult and Youth Patrons: The current library does not come close to having adequate space for quiet adult reading, youth programs, or special activities for parents with pre-school children. While final blueprints for the new library and the internal floor plan cannot be drawn until the project has been officially approved, there are some preliminary floor plans posted on the library site. You can see that the plans call for much needed space for meetings and special programs as well as ample room for patrons of all ages to be able to read and work in quiet and comfortable spaces.

Enhanced Computer Access: If the library is to be able to serve the needs of the public at a time when information technology is rapidly evolving, it is obvious that we need to have many more computers available to patrons so that they can do online research, work on projects and assignments, and access the resources that are available in our library and in the broader network of library systems in the suburbs and across the state. At present, there is no remaining space to install any more computers, but the plan for the new building calls for at least three times as many computer work stations for patrons. Just as important, the new building will be wired to serve the needs of our users now and for many years to come.

Environmental Issues: The library staff and the Board of Trustees continue to find ways to keep the building as “green” as possible, but energy conservation is sometimes difficult to achieve in a building that was constructed before many of the implications of current environmental concerns were fully understood. The architects and engineers would now have an opportunity to incorporate energy-saving heating and lighting technologies into the specifications for the new building that will not only reduce some energy expenditures, but also make the building a more eco-friendly structure in our community. As noted on the Carol Stream Public Library web site, “The Library and its architects are committed to building a green building in a cost effective manner that will be easy to maintain for many years.”

These improvements would all come in addition to some of the more obvious needs that have already been cited on these pages and on the library web site—more accessible shelving for all patrons, ample green space around the building for patrons who would like to read and work outdoors when weather permits, and additional parking spaces. The library staff has done an admirable job of making the most of the current facility, but it becomes more apparent with each passing year that the limitations created by the size of the building make it extremely difficult for the staff to meet the needs of our community.